USS BONHOMME RICHARD At Sea - Four Sailors assigned to the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) were selected for the limited duty officer (LDO) and chief warrant officer (CWO) programs, March 9.
The CWO/LDO programs provide commissioning opportunities to qualified senior enlisted personnel in pay grades E-7 through E-9; and E-6 Sailors who are selection-board eligible for E-7.
Senior Chief Machinist’s Mate Christopher Atwater, Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Misty Rambo and Chief Electrician’s Mate Vincent Ayekof have been selected to become chief warrant officers, and Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class James Griffin was selected as an LDO.
“A lot of hard work has paid off,” said Atwater. “I didn’t get here on my own. I have been mentored by a lot of CWOs and LDOs as well as chiefs and even by junior Sailors along the way. I wouldn’t be here without any of them.”
CWOs and LDOs, also known as mustangs, serve a unique role in the Navy as officers who bring enlisted technical expertise and in-depth rating knowledge to the commissioned ranks.
Rating expertise isn’t the only thing mustangs bring to the wardroom.
Atwater added that he learned a lot from the chief petty officer’s (CPO) mess and that he believes they are deckplate leaders and serve as technical experts in addition to developing junior officers and enlisted Sailors.
“I believe the CPO mess is the backbone of the Navy,” said Atwater. “Being a Navy chief taught me a lot about leadership. I plan to take those skills and use them as a foundation to continue growing and developing as a leader in the wardroom.”
For some of the Sailors selected, this is just another stepping stone in a long career of service.
“It’s great to get to take the next step,” said Ayekof. “This gives me an opportunity to see things from a different perspective. Whether a chief or a chief warrant officer, we are all here to serve our country.”
Leadership abilities, military qualifications and technical expertise are key factors leading to selection. LDOs and CWOs are technically oriented officers who perform duties limited to specific occupational fields.
"I have always taken great pride in being a CTR and learning the intricacies of cryptology,” said Rambo. “Being selected into the chief warrant officer program within the Information Warfare community will allow me to become even more diverse within the technical realms and throughout the field."
According to Atwater, the process of earning a commission will take some time, but the newly selected officers expect to put on their new ranks aboard Bonhomme Richard next year.
“It will be a pleasure to welcome these new officers into the wardroom,” said Capt. Daniel Dusek, Bonhomme Richard’s commanding officer. “They are all outstanding Sailors and have had my highest recommendations from the beginning.”